Key Points:

  • CDE hosted a seminar at which world famous Peruvian economist, Hernando de Soto, discussed his controversial book, The mystery of capital: Why capitalism triumphs in the West and fails everywhere else.
  • To be useful in an expanded market, capital must first be represented in a property document where it can be assigned a status that allows it to produce additional value.
  • What most people possess outside the West – houses but not titles, crops, but not deeds, businesses, but not statutes of incorporation – is not ‘paperised’ in such a way as to produce capital.
  • Imagine a country where nobody can identify who owns what, addresses cannot be easily checked, people cannot be made to pay their debts, resources cannot conveniently be turned into money, ownership cannot be divided into shares, descriptions of assets are not standardised and cannot be easily compared, and the rules that govern property vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood or even from street to street.
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